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Direct Provision System vs Human Rights

Personally, I wouldn’t have chosen the legal route to challenge the Direct Provision System (DPS) in Ireland and try to get a ruling to prove that it breaches human rights. This is NOT because I think the Direct Provision System is in accordance with human rights, Hell No! But because I don’t trust the state to ever give such a ruling on Direct Provision System.

The high court ruling that ‘the DPS does not breach human rights’ is extremely disappointing. The political rulers can now use this ruling as an excuse to brush aside any radical challenges to and criticism of DPS.

When it comes to asylum seekers and the Direct Provision System, we should remember how the end-to-end refugee application/appeal process works and how the subsequent governments legally, politically and practically ignored the calls for even small reforms.

Each time the governments are challenged on the issue of asylum seekers and the Direct Provision System we get the same response: “We are looking into it but it is a complex matter”. There were always excuses to not to do anything about the Direct Provision System:

  • In early 2000’s there were simply too many asylum seekers coming in…
  • A few years later there were too many children were born to asylum seeker parents…
  • Then there was the hype on asylum tourists, the bogus, fake asylum seekers…
  • A few more years later we were worried about being a soft landing country…
  • Then there was – there is – the economic crisis…

All of the above excuses were used to keep the asylum seekers in the Direct Provision System and hope that someday these people, this issue and the supposedly temporary solution of Direct Provision System will go away…

As if, magically, one morning we will wake up to a country with no asylum seekers.

The ‘Human rights’ concept is a ‘funny’ one. For such a commonly used and globally appreciated phrase, it seems who the ‘human’ is and where the ‘human’ is from makes a significant difference when it comes to the practical interpretations of it. In a way it resembles the definition of ‘war crimes/criminals’. Who and when, under what circumstances is called a war criminal? What is a ‘war crime’ and what is not?

The official answers to these questions can be sometimes very ‘flexible’ and very selective.

So, now, we are told that the Direct Provision System is not in breach of human rights.  

Is the fact that some people must put their lives on hold for many years, age away while waiting for their refugee application or appeal to be processed and sit idle without the right to work or right to higher education, not a breach of human rights?

Is the fact that, grown adults must spend their days in a boarding-school like environment where they have no personal choices; no personal options, not a breach of human rights?

Is the fact that, you are forced to state sponsored poverty under the DPS, not a breach of human rights?

Is the fact that, many asylum seekers suffer from stress, mental issues as a direct consequence of DPS, not enough evidence of systematic inhuman treatment of a group of people?

Is the fact that, as an asylum seeker you must live a parallel life, isolated from the rest of the society, not a horrifying situation?

That almost nothing that shapes your future is your own control but in the hands of executive and legal bodies not a breach of basic rights of modern day humans?

A lawyer, a judge may say NO to all of these questions but the Direct Provision system is a bleeding wound. It hurts people. It has nothing that gives the asylum seekers hope for future.

It is like a ‘human deep freeze’; time and life is frozen.

Babies, children, adults, men, women live in this system, not as normal citizens with normal lives, like the rest of us but as DPS RESIDENTS… A title that will stick with them forever…

Is this not a breach of human rights?

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